God, one person, or three?

by slimboyfat 49 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Pronger1

    Read Genesis 18 closely. Count the number of persons called God.

    Three men approach Abraham. Abraham goes with the three me. God says he must go down to Sodom. The men leave, yet Abraham is still there with God. Abraham is negotiating with God on how many righteous men he would save Sodom for. Then God goes on his way.

    Chapter 19, we see two angels in Sodom, everyone knows what happens. But in verse 24 it said God rained fire and sulphur from God out of heaven.. what? Interesting language use here.

    But If you keep digging, you’ll keep seeing reference to the Angel of the Lord being called God.

    Judges 6, the Angel of the Lord appears before Gideon. Gideon feeds him and then the Angel of the Lord disappears. Gideon becomes terrified when he realizes who the Angel of the Lord is.

    22 Then Gideon perceived that it was the angel of the Lord, and Gideon said, “Help me, Lord God! For I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face.”23 But the Lord said to him, “Peace be to you; do not fear; you shall not die.”

    Why would Gideon become terrified of dying seeing just an angel? People died seeing God face to face.

    Turn to Judges 13. The Angel of the Lord comes to Manoah’s wife. Manoah’s wife leads Manoah to this man. Manoah offers the man, who is the Angel of the Lord, food.

    15 Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “Allow us to detain you and prepare a kid for you.”

    Eventually Manoah sees this man ascend to heaven in a flame, and Manoah becomes terrified when he realizes who this man is.

    Then Manoah realized that it was the angel of the Lord. 22 And Manoah said to his wife, “We shall surely die, for we have seen God.”

    Manoah realizes this man, the Angel of the Lord is God. He is terrified of dying because he has seen God.

    But pay attention to verse 8 and 9

    8 Then Manoah entreated the Lord and said, “O my Lord, I pray, let the man of God whom you sent come to us again and teach us what we are to do concerning the boy who will be born.” 9 God listened to Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman as she sat in the field, but her husband Manoah was not with her.

    Manoah prayed to God that this man.. whom Manoah later realized is God, would appear. And God sends this man to Manoah.

    Do the math. How many persons are God here?

    Exodus 3, who is in the burning bush? Verse 2 says the Angel of the Lord. When Moses turns aside, God calls out to Abraham from the burning bush.

    In Judaism there was the thought of two powers in heaven. Yahweh and the Angel of Yahweh. Both God. It later became a heresy in 2nd century Rabbinic Judaism because early Christians were pointing to the Angel of the Lord as being an early Christophany.

    The early Jewish followers of Christ saw no issue with worshipping Jesus because it was part of Judaism that there were two Yahwehs. Yahweh and the Angel of Yahweh, both called God, yet they only worshipped one God.

    The examples I provided of this are far from being all the times in the Old Testament this happens.


  • peacefulpete

    Yes, later redactors found the anthropomorphic depiction of Yahweh as unbecoming and introduced a messenger figure into a number of texts. This left some readers to conclude what is referred to as the two powers concept. This along with other elements like Wisdom, Shekinah, and even The Name of God that were aspects or shadows of God that dwelt on earth while the God truly dwelt in heaven, contributed to the eventual hypostatic high christology of the Trinity.

    It might be viewed as ironic that in attempting to elevate their God as so transcendent and beyond abiding upon earth they left some of later generations to coalesce and embody their two power language and divine metaphors as a literal human offspring walking around on earth!

  • Jeffro

    Yahweh (El) started out as just one of the various gods of the Canaanite pantheon. Which is little wonder, since the Israelites started out as a Canaanite tribe. So it’s also no surprise that their early stories retain elements of polytheism. Over time, Yahweh was singled out as Judah transitioned to monotheism.

  • Phizzy

    Yahweh became the only god who should be worshipped, according the religious leaders in Judah, but it seems they were still Henotheists more than real Monotheists IMO.

    Monotheism in the sense of claiming that pagan gods were not real was a late development.

    But it is clear that the Trinity Doctrine was not something made out of whole cloth, it was a natural evolution from the ideas of what the Divinity of Christ consisted of.

    Of course, the Scriptures used to justify it could easily be culled from the polytheistic influenced ones of the O.T, as well as the Gospel of John.

  • aqwsed12345


    "Jesus was made Lord, and therefore there was a time when he was not Lord"

    Of course, considering his human nature, He received the title of "Lord" only after his death, cf. Philippians 2:9. But anyway, as John 20:28 shows, He was Lord and God even before that, considering His divine nature.

  • slimboyfat

    The Bible writers didn’t seem to know anything about any distinction between human and divine natures. For example Eph 1.17 talks about praying to the “God of our Lord Jesus Christ”. If Jesus is ‘Lord as respects his divinity’, then this verse says that even the divine Jesus is subject to God. That makes sense from a JW perspective because God is always greater than Jesus, not just in certain verses, or only as respects his ‘human nature’. God is always God to Jesus. The Bible writers knew nothing about the Trinity or the dual natures theory of Christ which was not developed until centuries later.

  • Jeffro


    Yahweh became the only god who should be worshipped, according the religious leaders in Judah, but it seems they were still Henotheists more than real Monotheists IMO.

    Indeed. My choice of the word 'transitioned', suggesting a gradual shift over time rather than just becoming strict monotheists right away, was quite intentional. :)

  • Diogenesister
    Ah, an apophatic theologian

    Blimey now that's a term you don't hear every day.😂

    I had to look this one up Slim!

  • aqwsed12345


    "The Bible writers didn’t seem to know anything about any distinction between human and divine natures."

    Argument from silence. Obviously not in terms of explicit and doctrinal definition, but in terms of content yes, compare "Son of God" vs. "Son of Man".

    "For example Eph 1.17 talks about praying to the “God of our Lord Jesus Christ”. If Jesus is ‘Lord as respects his divinity’"

    According to Philippians 2:9, Christ also received the title "Lord" in regard to his humanity after his death, so your conclusion is not necessary.

    "...then this verse says that even the divine Jesus is subject to God. "

    Exodus 4:16 says that Moses will be "like God" to his brother Aaron. The fact that Moses was like God to Aaron does not change the fact that Moses and Aaron were equals in their humanity. Similarly, the Father and the Son can also be equal in their divinity even though the Father is the head and relates to the Son as God.

    Now, let's look at Hebrews 1:10, where the Father calls the Son "Lord." If the Father can call the Son Lord without ceasing to be Lord Himself, the Son can also call the Father God while remaining God Himself.

    Lastly, let's see what Thomas said TO Jesus in John 20:28. "Thomas said TO him, 'My Lord and my God!'" Thus, Jesus was also called "my God." Even if we do not fully understand the relationship between Jesus and the Father, what we do understand is sufficient for us to know that we can have the same relationship with Christ as Thomas did, and we too can call Him our God.

    One thing that the organization does not take into account with this text is that Jesus always took great care to distinguish the relationship He had with the Father from that which His disciples had. He never called God "our Father" in relation to Himself and His disciples. (In the priestly prayer in Matthew 6:9, where Jesus addresses the Father as "our Father," Jesus is teaching His disciples how to pray, and it is not about including Himself. His prayer begins accordingly: "Pray then like this:") It's important to note this because by nature, as the Son of God, Jesus has the same nature as God (John 5:18, 19:7), but when He became flesh, Jesus took on human nature, thus becoming the Son of Man. (See John 6:62, Daniel 7:13. The term "Son of Man" is a messianic title referring to His human nature, as He will also come in the body in His Second Coming.) While His divine nature still possesses divine power and authority, due to His human nature, Jesus refers to the Father as His God.

    "The Bible writers knew nothing about the Trinity or the dual natures theory of Christ ..."

    Argument from silence again. The doctrine of the Trinity as a doctrine is merely an organization certain biblical facts into a system. So the doctrine of the Trinity is the interpretation and systematization of biblical facts published in a philosophical guise.

    Scripture teaches that there is one God; yet, it claims, both explicitly and implicitly, that there are three persons who are God. This is a formal logical contradiction, and based on the natural world, we might think this is not possible. Here comes the concept that dissolves the contradiction.

    However, if we want to organize the revelation of God found in Scripture, these concepts are very useful. In the first centuries, this was not as necessary; people were satisfied with the belief in one God, but God as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit - how to describe this in the most accessible way for human reason did not concern them.

    The statements about Jesus in the New Testament seem formally contradictory because, on one hand, they require us to profess that He is truly God, with all the implications thereof; on the other hand, there are statements that suggest He is not God, but merely a man. This is a formal logical impossibility, as this does not occur in the created world. Yet, this is what Scripture presents, so either we throw the Bible out the window, or we try to resolve this contradiction. The Arian response is to absolutize the attributes that suggest one nature and to attack the other with chisel, fork, and hammer. However, this is not exactly a fair method, as you can see. Again, we are at a point where this needs to be harmonized, and Jesus' dual nature resolves this contradiction. So, was there a problem, or wasn't there?

    "...which was not developed until centuries later."

    This is ironic, and how many centuries after the Bible was written did the Watchtower and its specific doctrines come into existence?

    The Church Fathers say the same thing as the Bible, that the Son was born/begotten of the Father, not that he created/made him, that he is God, and not that Michael the Archangel. And there is absolutely no early Christian source that identifies the Holy Spirit with impersonal power.

  • slimboyfat
    in regard to his humanity after his death

    Neither the phrase nor the concept “in regard to his humanity” occurs in Philippians 2, nor anywhere else, which is kind of the giveaway that it’s not biblical.

    But supposing it did say that, then Jesus’ humanity would be deified along with his divinity. There would be no human Jesus left.

    No matter how you squeeze it the Bible doesn’t bend to fit the shape of Trinity dogma. At every turn the NT text demonstrates that the Trinity was a later development that the Bible writers knew nothing about.

Share this